This is a treasure of a book. The prayers and meditations contained in it are jewels polished by long hours of suffering. Archbishop Van Thuan spent 13 years in prison in Vietnam, and 9 of those years in solitary confinement. His great love for Christ and for his people illuminated the darkness of his suffering and now shine from every word. His heart was crushed in the winepress of sorrow, and the wine of his words will bring life to your spirit. They are simple and spare, pure and joyful, rich and sparkling with eternal wisdom. This is a small book, but profoundly beautiful.
Father Francis Xavier Nguyen survived the worst that the communist re-educators could throw at him, including nine years of solitary confinement, and he retained his faith due to strong system of values and beliefs. Guidance came from the words of Monsignor John Walsh, imprisoned in China, "I am not going to wait, I will leave each present moment, filling it to the brim with love". Engaging his guards in conversation caused a major discipline problem for the communist authorities.
This small book is packed with inspiration, and the loaves and fish title draws on the Biblical story of Jesus feeding the crowd of five thousand.
The seven homilies are: The first loaf: Living the present moment; The second loaf: Discerning between God and god's works; The third loaf: A fixed point of reference; The fourth loaf: The Eucharist- my only strength; The fifth loaf: Love and unity- the testimony of Jesus; The first fish: My first love- The Immaculate Virgin Mary; and The second fish: I have chosen Jesus.
Conducting the Eucharist, even in isolation using bread crumbs and "stomach medicine", enabled Father Francis not only to survive but help others also.
One stands in awe of this priestly man who survived, both physically and spiritually, when others would have fallen by the way.
A short but powerful book by the author that inspires us to dwell not in our knitty-gritty stuff that clogs our life but to surrender what we have to God. Suitable piece for young & old. One you could read over and over as a prayer.
For being less than 100 pages, this book is an amazingly engaging read. I bought the book in order to foster a faith-sharing group discussion for church, and everyone who has participated agrees that Francis' tale is one of inspiration and simplicity.
That is what's amazing about his tale; he was able to distill a very harrowing life experience (nine years in solitary confinement is impossible to visualize for me) into the simple truths that helped him through it. What inspires me is that Francis does a great job of conveying that it was his faith in God that got him through all of his trials, and not some triumph of the human will. If you have faith, then it will allow you to accomplish great things, whether they be large or small deeds.
Each chapter is 10-15 pages long, so you won't find yourself struggling to get through it. Bottom line, it's a great book.
"Five Loaves & Two Fish" was an easy read about how we are all called to do God's will, no matter what our circumstances. The Archbishop does a great job of showing us how the little things in everyday life can be major catalysts for others! Excellent book--will now order all of his books.
A modern day Paul, we follow the transition from self-centered to selflessly centered in God. Removed from all contact by his captors, he converts his jailers by example, word and humility. Subsequently freed and exiled, his mission becomes that of endless sharing of Christ's message to the future of the world--our youth through the miracle of loaves and fishes. Written for all to read in modern terms (he is a person of the 1960s)we see that God lives in all we do.